Table of Contents
Section I. Summary of sentences
Section II. The transcript
Section III. My Comments
Section IV. Questions
Summary of sentences
Here I summarize Dr. Kaplan’s sentences the way I understood them.
Sentences from 1 to 6 redifine space as Higgs field.
Sentences 7 to 13 compare a magnetic field to the Higgs field. Magnetic field is a force field because it varies with distance from the source but Higgs field is not a force field because it is uniform (because it does not have a source). Both the magnetic field and the Higgs field are turned on.
Sentences from 14 to 20 state the effects of the Higgs field on particles. Higgs is not a force field so it has no inertial or motion-giving effect but instead it gives particles their mass. Electron is an example of a particle taking its mass from the Higgs field.
Sentences 19 and 22 introduce particles with zero mass. These must be the particles that do not interact with the Higgs field. Why? Zero mass particles always travel with the speed of light. This is prescribed by relativity. So it seems that Higgs field is also enforcing the speed limit for Einstein.
Sentences 23 to 26 explain that without the Higgs field there is no matter.
Sentences 27 to 30 state that particles do not exist. In particle physics “particle” is just another name for the word “wave”. We can substitute the word “wave” whenever physicists use the word “particle”.
Sentences 31 to 35 state that all electrons are same only their motion can differ.
Sentences 36 to 37 state that there must be an associated particle for any field. (Where are these fields?)
Sentences 38 to 42 state explicitly that there are no particles but only waves. Particles are waves. And waves are not fundamental but the field is.
Sentences from 43 to 48 state that Higgs field gives mass to the particles of the Standard Model. (That's a curious statement because there are no particles in the Standard Model but only waves and fields.)
Sentences 49 to 51 state that Higgs field is the fifth force of nature (contradicting what he said on #15.)
Sentences 52 to 54 state that Higgs particle explained the weakness of the weak force.
(Read the transcript or jump to my comments.)
1. I thought I would explain the Higgs without writing anything down.
2. Much easier for me.
3. There are basically three things you need to know to understand rudimentarily what the Higgs is.
4. The first thing, is that the Higgs, there is a Higgs field, that's the most important thing.
5. The Higgs field is turned on in our universe.
6. Higgs is turned on.
7. And a field you experience before in a physical way which is the magnetic field of two magnets.
8. Let's say you have two magnets and let's say that the north ends are facing each other and you try to push them together and you feel the repulsion or you put one north, one south and you feel the attraction.
9. You can feel it even though they are not touching each other.
10. The simplest description of that is that there is a magnetic field around the magnets and they are being manipulated as you get closer and farther and because of that it changes the energy and create forces.
11. That's a non-uniform field because it is strong near the magnet and weak far away from it.
12. But it's the electromagnetic field in a special way turned on.
13. And it's turned on around this magnet because the magnet is a source of that field.
14. What makes sense in the current theory of matter is that there is a Higgs field or something like it some kind of field that's turned on everywhere in space and this field everywhere in space has an effect on particles.
15. And the effect it has is not a force because it's not stronger in some place and weaker in others, it's uniform everywhere.
16. So which way it will force it?
17. There is no force.
18. But it has an even more dramatic effect which is it gives a mass to fundamental particles, namely, just the effect on the electron as it passes through this Higgs field, that is, it acts as if it has mass; it effectively has mass.
19. That's the best description electron, particle with mass.
20. And the fact that it has mass means it can slow down and get trapped in an atom.
21. Amazingly enough, there are particles... particles can have zero mass and the photon, the particle of light, is a particle with zero mass, as far as we can tell.
22. And zero mass particles always travel at the speed of light according to relativity.
23. So, the fact that the electron is in a Higgs field and gets its mass due to that and slows down means that it can be trapped in atoms and because it can be trapped in atoms then matter can form, and atoms can form, molecules can form which require electron bounce states, solid objects can form in the universe as we know it.
24. Otherwise there is no matter as we know it.
25. There are other ways things get mass but the electron mass is crucial for the structure of matter that we see.
26. That's the first thing.
27. The second thing you need to know is that particles in the sort of deepest description are not fundamental.
28. An individual particle is not a fundamental object.
29. [An individual particle] is a vibration, if you will, or a wave, of a field.
30. So in fact all particles are from fields.
31. So the electron itself, that thing that lives in an atom, is an excitation, or a wave, in the electron field.
32. And this is one of the reasons why all electrons are exactly the same.
33. They have exactly the same mass, exactly the same spin, exactly the same electric charge, exactly, every electron exactly the same.
34. The difference is how fast it is moving.
35. And this can be in any direction too.
36. But all vibrations are of the same field.
37. So for every particle there is an associated field that lives throughout space.
38. It's like saying there is a lake and you throw pebble in the lake and the ripple goes across the surface of the lake.
39. The ripple contains energy and it moves from one place to another but the ripple is not fundamental; the lake itself is fundamental.
40. That lake means you can have waves going across it.
41. So the particles, which we think fundamental particles actually they are the waves and it is the field that is fundamental, in our best description of these things.
42. That's the case.
43. Take the Higgs.
44. The Higgs field, if there is a Higgs field or some kind of field has this effect, that gives mass to the electron, then the Higgs field predicts the existence of the Higgs particle, and there should be a Higgs particle.
45. It doesn't necessarily predict what the mass of that particle is, but it predicts its existence.
46. So, seeing a Higgs particle tells us what is the field, the information about the field that is having this effect on all matter.
47. We can study detailed properties of the particle and that tells us the detailed properties of the field itself.
48. And how it interacts with rest of the fields in the Standard Model of the particle physics which is basically a list of all known fundamental particles and the interactions that they have which are basically all of the forces in nature.
49. The Higgs particle and field together itself actually represent the fifth force of nature.
50. It's like a mass force.
51. You can exchange Higgs particle and that would be like two particles interacting through this new force which is extraordinarily weak in energies we normally live at but lives just fine at high energies.
52. The third important thing is that the Higgs particle is predicted in mid-60s really in 1967 when Steve Weinberg put it in a context of other speculative fields and particles that we knew about and all together it became the Standard Model.
53. It became the way particles of the Standard Model get mass.
54. It explained the weakness of the weak force and it took Sheldon Glashow's model that unified two forces of the model, so this is really confirmation that model.
My comments on Dr. Kaplan’s statements
References are to the numbered sentences on Section II.
The main topic of Dr. Kaplan’s talk is the Higgs field but since Higgs field is defined as the space itself (#5) and space is defined as the agent that gave mass to matter, Dr. Kaplan necessarily talks about particles and matter, our main interest. Indeed, our aim is to understand physicists’ definition of particle (if such an understanding is possible).
Dr. Kaplan says that there are three things we need to know to understand the Higgs field.
The first is that Higgs is a field. (Is it surprising that something which is called a “field” is a field?) A field is a grid and each point of the grid has a number associated with it. So, a field is a mathematical construct.
#5 defines the Higgs field as universal.
#5. The Higgs field is turned on in our universe.This means that Higgs field is space. It can also be seen as the new ether. But unlike the old ether, Higgs field interacts with stuff that move in it.
How does Dr. Kaplan know that Higgs field is universal? He doesn’t. Remember that the experiments are limited to electricity and magnetism and the experimental environment is an artificial environment of extremely high energies that do not exist in the everyday world. There is no evidence that the results of these collider conditions exist in everyday world. (See Question 17.)
Also, Dr. Kaplan does not know and can never know the totality of existence.
Prof. Kaplan then uses the example of a magnetic field to give us an idea what a field is. We know how magnets attract and repel each other. Magnets have polarity.
#9. You can feel [the magnetic field] even though they are not touching each other.
#11. [Magnetic field] is a non-uniform field because it is strong near the magnet and weak far away from it.
#12. The electromagnetic field, in a special way, is turned on.It’s not clear what he means by “turned on.” Can Higgs field be turned on and off?
#13. And it’s turned on around this magnet because the magnet is a source of that field.Next he explains that in analogy to this magnetic field there is another field which is turned on everywhere in the universe, the Higgs field.
He claims that matter is created by the Higgs field.
This is another meaningless sentence because we don’t know what he means by “matter.” He never defined it. Does matter refer to the individual units that used to be called “atoms”? It’s not easy to define matter and physicists never do. And using such a fundamental concept without definition leads to meaningless sentences and to absurd conclusions.
#14. [...] Higgs field [is] turned on everywhere in space and this field everywhere in space has an effect on particles.Let’s pay special attention anytime Dr. Kaplan mentions the word “particle”. We want to understand the meaning he ascribes to this word in that particular context.
What does Dr. Kaplan mean when he writes that Higgs field “has an effect on particles”? Do you imagine that he is talking about particles as spherical balls? No. He defines in #29 that particles are waves. So, he is just calling waves particles. Let’s be clear about this. He created a nickname for the word “wave” and this nickname is “particle”. What exists as a physical entity is a wave not particle. He just defined “particle” to be a synonym for “wave.” So, anytime he writes a “particle” we should understand a “wave”. Therefore, #14 can be written as “Higgs field has an effect on waves.” But even this does not make sense because the field and the wave are not different entities.
Dr. Kaplan wants us to believe that there are particles and there are waves. He wants us to believe that particles and waves exist as two independent entities and both are observed. This is not true. Particles exists only as a label which is nothing more than a placeholder for the word “wave”. Physicists like to represent these waves as spherical balls. Are there waves that are shaped like spherical balls? No. You would never see a wave represented as a wave but always as a spherical ball. This is so silly. This must be an inside joke among physicists that we as laymen are not privy to. Or, Dr. Kaplan is drowning in an ocean of rhetorical sophistry of his own creation.
#15 says that the effect that Higgs field has on particles “is not a force”. Let’s keep this in mind because in sentences #49 and #50 he will define Higgs field as “the fifth force of nature.” This is a contradiction. The Higgs field can be defined either as a force or not a force. It cannot be defined as force and not force at the same time. But physicists do not respect contradictions, in other words, contradictions are legal in physics. Physicists are not bound by the Aristotelian logic. In physics something can be both itsef and not-itself at the same time.
#15. And the effect it has is not a force because it’s not stronger in some place and weaker in others, it’s uniform everywhere.
#49. The Higgs particle and field together itself actually represent the fifth force of nature.
#50. It's like a mass force.The Higgs field has another effect on the particle, it gives it [inertial] mass. So substituting wave for particle again we may say that “Higgs gives waves on the field their mass”. Do you think waves have mass?
I may understand waves with mass, after all, they have energy but what I’m really questioning is why are physicists insisting on calling waves “particles”?
#18. But it has an even more dramatic effect which is it gives a mass to fundamental particles, namely, just the effect on the electron as it passes through this Higgs field, that is, it acts as if it has mass; it effectively has mass.
This is another standard rhetorical device used routinely by physicists. You first make a claim “as if” then in the following sentence you make it effective. The result is sophistry.
#19. That’s the best description of electron, particle with mass.So, not “as if” but electron is really a particle with mass.
Here Dr. Kaplan again uses the word “particle”. Which definition of particle is he using? He may be using “particle” with its old uncorrupted definition of “spherical ball.” If so, this sentence is a worthless piece of sophistry because we know that in sentences #29 and #41 he denies the existence of particles as spherical balls. So after substituting wave for particle #19 simply becomes “electron is a wave with mass.”
#20. The fact that [electron] has mass means it can slow down and get trapped in an atom.Here Dr. Kaplan is using the old and deprecated model of the atom as a spherical ball. He is describing a fairy tale world. In reality, atom is not a spherical ball. Again substituting wave for particle we get “the unit of wave has mass and it can slow down and get trapped in another type of wave we labeled an atom.” (The electron which is defined as the unit of charge is really the unit of charged waves.)
#21 introduces particles without mass. So, making our usual substitution of wave to particle, #21 becomes “there are waves that do not have mass. And photon is such a wave.”
#22 tells us that waves without mass travel always at the speed of light according to general relativity.
In #23 Dr. Kaplan again reverts to atoms-as-spherical-balls model and makes electron which is a wave get trapped in atoms. With #23 he effectively admits that he is a liar because if electron is a spherical ball, as he assumes here, it cannot be a wave.
#24 claims that without Higgs field there would not be matter. I always find it interesting that physicists make observations by colliding two electrical beams then they generalize their observations to the entire universe, that is, they define the universe to be made of electric beam particles. But this reasoning is faulty. Let me explain with an analogy. Let's create two beams of water. Suppose that I accelerated water beams to high speeds so that as the result of the collision of the two beams, the constituent atoms “scattered” and registered on my sensors as atoms of Hydrogen and Oxygen. This way I learned that water is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. Is it a good scientific practice to conclude from my water experiment that all matter in the universe is made of Hydrogen and Oxygen? No. All I can conclude scientifically is that water beams I used in the experiment are made of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Same for physicists. They can only conclude that their beams are made of some particles. They cannot generalize from the collision of electric beams to matter in general.
#27 is very important because now Mr. Kaplan will confess again that he has been lying about his usage of the words “particle” and “fundamental”.
#27 ... particles are not fundamental.This is a meaningless sentence. He assumes in #29 and #41 that particles do not exist. There are only fields and waves. If particles do not exist what does it mean to say that they are not fundamental. They cannot be fundamental or not fundamental. They don’t exist.
#28 An individual particle is not a fundamental object.Not only a particle is not fundamental but it is not an object either because a particle is just another name for wave as he states in #29 and #41.
#29 [A particle] is a vibration, or a wave, of a field.Dr. Kaplan is using the word “or” to connect “vibration” ana “wave.” This means that he considers vibration and wave to be interchangeable. But this is not true. Waves may be vibration, but not all vibrations are waves. Simple harmonic motion of a wave on a string is vibration but the ball is not a wave. Is Dr. Kaplan confusing the sinusoidal wave used to describe the up and down motion of the ball with the ball itself? This is a textbook example of confusing the map with the territory.
Can a particle defined as a spherical ball be a wave at the same time? No. There are no particles. There are only waves. Dr. Kaplan tries to imply that there are two distinct things, one is a particle and the other is a wave. No. There is only wave. Wave is not caused by a particle. Or a particle is not acting like a wave. As in the example of waves on a lake (#38-#41), there are only waves and he calls waves particles. More correctly, up to here, he has been calling waves particles but now he is saying that he was lying. There are no particles. There are only waves.
#30 All particles are from fields.This sentence is an insult to our intelligence. Let me remind Dr. Kaplan that he admitted in #29 that there are no particles and that particle is his nickname for wave, therefore if he is still talking about particles he must be kidding us or fooling himself.
We can always replace his particle with wave. Then #30 becomes “all waves are from fields.” And this makes perfect sense. Waves are properties of field but particles are not. Or more correctly, there are no fields distinct from waves. The field is the wave.
Sentence #31 specifically defines the electron as a wave.
#31. So the electron itself, that thing that lives in an atom, is an excitation, or a wave, in the electron field.#32 says that because an electron “is an excitation or wave in the electron field” (#31) “all electrons are exactly the same.” This is not surprising. The electron is defined as the unit charge. So, by definition all electrons must be the same. Imagine stating, as a great revelation, that “all meter sticks are 1 meter long.” Of course. Meter is defined as a unit. By definition they are all the same.
In #37 he is still talking about particles.
#37. So for every particle there is an associated field that lives throughout space.Dr. Kaplan continues to insult our intelligence by trying to incorporate the concept of particle into his theory of fields and waves. Fields and waves do not need particles.
Dr. Kaplan admitted in #29 and #41 that there are no particles. What he calls particle is just a wave. He takes great pride in calling waves particles. Why?
Again, making our usual substitution, #37 becomes “for every wave there is an associated field that lives throughout space.” (How do these field interect in the wild?)
He is saying that each field has its own characteristic wave. Like its own characteristic amplitude, characteristic frequency and so on? See Question 15.
#38 introduces waves in the lake analogy to cement the fact that particles do not exist in nature.
#38. It's like saying there is a lake and you throw pebble in the lake and the ripple goes across the surface of the lake.#41 leaves no room for doubt: “Particles are waves”
#41. So the particles, which we think fundamental particles actually they are the waves and it is the field that is fundamental, in our best description of these things.Dr. Kaplan admits once again that there are no particles and classifies non-existent particles as not fundamental.
Making the substitution, #41 becomes: “Waves are waves.”
So all his insistence on particles was for this tautology: waves are waves. And consequently, “waves are not fundamental but waves are fundamental.”
Dr. Kaplan is still trying to use all kinds of rhetorical sophistry in order not to give up the sacred concept of particle.
He tries to confuse us about fundamentality issue which he introduces as red herring. But we see through his sophistry and lies.
In #44 Dr. Kaplan still tries to mount particles into fields and this time he says that Higgs field predicts a Higgs particle.
Substituting wave for particle: “Higgs field predicts a Higgs wave.”
Again this makes sense. But “Higgs field predicts a Higgs particle” does not make sense. There are not particles in the Standard Model of Particle Physics invented by physicists.
#49: The Higgs particle and field together itself actually represent the fifth force of nature.
#50 It’s like mass force.But in #15 he stated that Higgs field was not a force.
#15 And the effect [the Higgs field] has is not a force because it's not stronger in some place and weaker in others, it's uniform everywhere.As mentioned above, in academic physics contradictions are legal. Higgs field can be a force and not force at the same time. This contradiction can be reconciled by old scholastic technique of rhetorical sophistry and doubletalk.
Do we have a better understanding of the definition of a particle in physics? Yes. We now know that experimental data reveal no particles but because experiments are done by “particle” physicists they must interpret data as particles. So they inject the word “particle” into their theories and models superficially by rhetorical sophistry as we have seen done skillfully by Dr. Kaplan.
Of course, Dr. Kaplan would vehemently deny our accusations that he is using doubletalk to save the sacred doctrine of atomic materialism. He will say that this is simply a popular talk aimed at laymen and it should not be taken seriously. He would add that if I really wanted to know Higgs or what fields and particles are I should study Quantum Mechanics for 25 years and earn my physics degree.
But my argument has nothing to do with quantum mechanics or any other physics theory. My argument is about physics’ initial assumptions, axioms and doctrines. Axioms are independent of mechanics, theories and models. They are fundamental assumptions and they are valid for the entire physics.
The most fundamental doctrine of physics is the atomic materialism. Physics assume that the world is made of indivisible “particles”. Yes. Particles as in spherical ball particles. This doctrine cannot be questioned or changed or modified. A physicist will always fit all experimental data into the doctrine of atomic materialism, by faking it if necessary, as done here by Dr. Kaplan.
We recognize this method of saving the doctrine blindly against all evidence to save the doctrine. This was famously done by scholastic doctors of philosophy practicing for millenia up to the time of Galileo of the so-called scientific revolution. But we see that, the Doctors of Philosophy never changed their scholastic habits, they just changed their name and started to call themselves “physicists”. That’s why I call the academic physicists the neo-scholastics.
This is the fundamental dilemma of physics: How to explain a world without particles with particles. And Dr. Kaplan showed us how this is done easily by rhetorical sophistry and doubletalk and by semantic acrobacy.
Section IV Questions
1. What is space?
2. What is field?
3. What is mass?
4. What is the reason why some particles do not interact with the Higgs field and remain without mass (the so called zero mass particles)?
5. What is matter?
6. Is the Higgs field the new ether? It permeates the entire space, therefore it is space, and things move in it. This sounds like ether. But ether had zero resistence, the Higgs field interacts with “particles” that move in it and gives inertial mass to them.
7. What does it mean to say that Higgs field is “turned on?”
8. How does Dr. Kaplan know that the Higgs field is universal? He doesn’t. But in physics it is standard practice to generalize local experiments to the universe as a whole without justification.
9. How come the Higgs field alters the particle by giving mass to it but the newly created massive particle does not alter the Higgs field? This is another evidence for the idea that Higgs field is space itself because without the Higgs field nothing will have mass.
10. Can the Higgs field be turned on and off? If so, under what conditions it is turned on and off? It seems to me that, it cannot be turned off because it does not have a source (see #15).
11. How do we distinguish the Higgs field from space?
12. What kind of mass the Higgs field give the particle? Inertial or gravitational? Or is it a new kind of mass, maybe “electromagnetic mass”? “Wave mass”?
13. Can we separate the wave from the field? (#38-#42) Can there be waves without field? This is an old question. In the 19. century physicists thought that waves needed a medium, such as the ether to exist.
14. Is there an electron field in the atom? But atom is not a spherical ball. Atom must also be a wave. What does it mean to say that the electron is a wave that lives inside another wave we call atom?
15. What is a characteristic wave? Amplitude, wavelength and frequency defines a wave. Maybe we obtain a characteristic wave by keeping some or all of these properties constant? So the field A will always have a characteristic wave where amplitude=a, wavelength=a’ and frequency=a’’’. But the field B will have a characteristic wave of amplitude=b, wavelength=b’ and frequency=b’’’. And so on, for every field.
16. Does the extreme environment in colliders artificially created by physicists exist in the everyday world? How do physicists justify this hidden assumption? The hidden assumption is that particles created under extreme and artificial environment of colliders also make up the everyday world objects. One objection to this assumption may be the exceedingly short lifetimes of fundamental particles such as quarks. Were matter made of quarks, object we observe in the everyday world would be extremely volatile and unstable. But they are not. This contradiction usually is explained away as “single quarks may be short-lived but groups of quarks including gluons are stable”. This sounds like an hoc explanation.
—David Kaplan's video is here.